The Clash Take the Fifth Tour
Supported by The Undertones

updated 13 Feb 2012 - added 4 photos
updated Dec 2014 - added poster

cdr - slight distortion - sound 3.5 - 69min - unknown gen - 20 tracks - very distant

The Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest theatre in America opening in 1809 and still very much in business today. (see pics). The band would have had a kick about playing there as no doubt they were told that they would be performing on a stage that a host of famous actors had graced including Edward G Robinson, Marlon Brando, the Marx Brothers and even Houdini.

A reasonable audience recording

A reasonable audience recording circulates of the gig spoilt by some slight over amplification/distortion. There’s a good degree of clarity, it’s not too many generations down from the master, but vocals and guitar are distant. Drums come over best but bass is low almost buried in the mix. Recording levels rise up and down during first part of Safe European Home as the taper wrestles with the notoriously loud Clash PA volume.

courtesy of Jeff Rusnak

courtesy of Jeff Rusnak

Saturday night and Little Richard singing Rip It Up is playing as The Clash hit the stage and proceed to do just that to the very enthusiastic Philadelphia audience. The audiences on a number of the gigs on this tour did not know how to react to The Clash, staying in their seats, a cause of frustration to the band. But in Philadelphia the audience roar their approval after each song, Joe tells them between songs that they’re ‘brilliant’. Ray Lowry (link) said the audience stood and pounded their hands together for so long that Joe had to come out after the encore to say that they were too tired from travelling to play anymore. He stood in the front and said it was a terrific show.

The performance is very strong, the band though tired responding to the audience, but the recording cannot do it justice. The enthusiasm of the audience to an explosive Safe European Home is such that Joe breaks from the norm of greeting the audience after the third song; “..are you sure you can hear it, even up there (in the balcony)”.

Mick’s use of the dreaded effects boxes are very much in evidence throughout, for example on London Calling taking all the piss out of the intro. As the song ends Joe says while he picks out the tune “let me tell you about all the phoney Beatle mania that’s bitten the dust along with the chord changes to Pressure Drop that have escaped us.”

courtesy of Jeff Rusnak

On English Civil War (there’s an edit before the start) the audience clap along to Mick’s strumming on the acoustic and Joe shouts “speed up” midway and the tempo speeds up. This ‘folk’ rendition of the song is a highlight of the concert as it was of the tour as a whole.

Before Stay Free (Mickey Gallagher plays unannounced) Joe addresses the audience memorably, “Hang on Topper, shut up a minute. You lot down here are brilliant, you really are brilliant, you understand that the more you give a group the more the group can give back.[crowd roar approval] We all wanna get off here you know not just you and me but him and him and him,[pointing at the band] we all wanna get off, so I’d just like to talk to you people up there in the balcony, you tell me if you think it stinks or what, shout boo if you don’t like it, [a solitary boo!], just remember you sit there taking away my soul and I’ll get you later!” Mick is presumably playing the old hollow electric guitar as at the Palladium the night before on Stay Free as you can hardly hear it.

Clampdown is dedicated “to all you eggheads” in the balcony. Following encouragement from Joe the crowd scream with him before Police & Thieves come crashing in, and at its end they give their longest roar of approval before the always-superb Capital Radio shreds them to pieces.

It’s the usual charge then through to the 3 song encore which left the audience screaming for more. By the evidence of Philadelphia many Americans were indeed connecting to The Clash. As Johnny Green has said this was the tour when it felt like The Clash were really starting to take off in the USA.

courtesy of Jeff Rusnak


Safe European Home
I'm So Bored with the USA
Complete Control
London Calling
White Man In Ham Palais
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Jail Guitar Doors
The Guns Of Brixton
English Civil War
Clash City Rockers
Stay Free
Police and Thieves
Capital Radio
Janie Jones
Armagideon Time
Career Opportunities
White Riot

The Clash Turn Pro (Sort of )
Sounds Tour Report
(St Paul & Chicago mainly)
Peter Silverton, Sounds,
29 September 1979
TUESDAY LUNCHTIME: Cleveland Airport. With a couple of hours to kill before my one-stop-only flight to Minneapolis and the first date on the Clash’s second American Tour...

The Last Gang in The West Leaves Town
NME 13 & 20 Oct Paul Morley
Paul Morley of the NME travels on the tour bus from Detroit on the 17th through to New York on the 21st interviewing and following the band.
DETAILS: The Scene. The Clash on tour of America. There's a glamorous image, with a confident, crusading edge to it. The Clash: a lot of hope and responsibility there. America: it still means a lot. Clash's current six week coast to coast tip to toe tour of the United States Of America is their first major assault

Clash USA 79 - Ray Lowry
The shape I'm In
NME - 6 Oct 1979
Ray Lowry Clash Take the 5th Tour Notes Pt1

Clash USA 79 - Ray Lowry
Brother Creepers Over America or Suedes over the States
NME - 13 Oct 1979
Ray Lowry Clash Take the 5th Tour Notes Pt2

Clash USA 79 - Ray Lowry
Have you heard the news, theres good rocking ronight
NME - 20 Oct 1979
Ray Lowry Clash Take the 5th Tour Notes Pt3

Clash Extension
Unknown / Tour News
15 August 79
The Clash who started a lengthy American Tour last week are due to tour Britain in November to tie in with the release of their new album. Tha band's American Tour, which included the Monterey Festival last week

Jenny Lens
Clash Photographer 1979-1981
I shot the Clash from February 1979 to June 1980. I didn’t bring my camera to the Sausalito Swap Meet, February 3, and ran into them and Johnny Green. I said hello, but too shy to tell them who I was or inquire about photo passes. Their debut California gigs were discussed in San Francisco at the Ramada Inn press conference

The Clash Play Revolution Rock
Chris Salewicz, Trouser Press, March 1980
IT'S FOUR days before Christmas. A dark, early evening damp with snow and rain. Immediately south of the Thames, in the inappropriately genteel Victorians... end of Tour chaos in LA.

Melody Maker front cover only
29 December 1979
Strummer on the Rebound

Sep 8 Monterey CA, USA...Tribal Stomp festival
Sep 12 Civic Centre, Saint Paul MN, USA
Sep 14 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago IL, USA
Sep 17 Masonic Temple, Detroit MI, USA
Sep 18 Cleveland, USA
A Riot of Our Own dates this gig pg194. However local fans believe Cleveland show never happened, the book reference notwithstanding.  "I was 18 at the time and very tuned in to the music scene in the area.  I missed the Agora show because I wasn't 18 at the time.  In September I was and there is no way I would have missed that.  I lived in Akron, OH, a one hour drive.  I have checked all local newspapers and muic papers and there is no announcement of that show nor any review. Ray Sferra"
Sep 19 Orpheum Theater, Boston MA, USA
FYI, Clash played the Orpheum Boston twice during the Take the 5th tour.I believe it was Sept. 19 & 20, and the NY shows were later. I was at all four but I can't remember the date breakdown Good site. Paul Sherman??
Sep 20 Palladium, New York NY, USA
Sep 21 Palladium, New York NY, USA
...famous photo of Paul from the London Calling sleeve taken on this night
Sep 22 Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia PA, USA
Sep 25 St Denis Theatre, Montreal, Canada
Sep 26 O’Keefe Centre, Toronto, Canada
Sep 28 Clark University, Worcester MA, USA
I missed them for both the 1st two Boston shows (Harvard Sq. Theatre and the Orpheum) but then I heard thru the grapevine that they were playing at Clark University on 9/28/79.  So we drove down and got in line.  Original scheduled to be in the field house, the promoters (I think it was a student organization) sold almost no advance tickets, and moved it to a smaller auditorium the day of the show.  Then 100s of punks from Boston showed up and bought tickets, and they kept selling tickets.  Terribly overcrowded, fire department came and made a few hundred leave the hall, but as soon as they left, Strummer says "There's a buncha fans out there that paid to see us, and they're stuck outside, but if everybody stays cool, and don't push, we can let them inside."  The Heart breakers opened. That show changed my life.  Cliche but true.  Anyway, I still have the ticket stub.  Rick
Sep 29 Ritchie Colisseum, College Park MD, USA
Oct 2 The Agora, Atlanta GA, USA
Oct 4 Armadillo Club, Austin TX, USA
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p206 and also by Ray Lowry on page 73 of Mojo (UK Music Mag) No.9 Aug 94 where he says the heat was scorching... see also [Joe Elys acordian player]

Joe; Back to London in 1979 for another tour. The Clash come to the show (Ely's) at the Venue Theater and invited the (Ely's) band to come to studio where they are recording London Calling. Became friends and (the Clash) showed the Lubbock boys around the London scene. The Clash come to America later in 1979. The two bands play several shows together including Houston, Dallas, Laredo, LA and the Monterey Pop Festival. Joe invites them to come to Lubbock to do a show together. They stay for several days mesmerized by the dusty home of Buddy Holly and the strange cowboy culture. In return the Clash invite Joe the following year to come to London for their London Calling Tour.

Oct 5 Cullen Auditorium, Houston TX, USA
dates from [Joe Elys acordian player]. also referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p206
Oct 6 Palladium, Dallas, USA
this is often dated as the 6th and it may have been, but in order to fit the sequence of events in Greens book, A Riot of Our Own it would have to be before that, maybe the 4th.
Oct 7
Rocks Club [The Rox], Lubbock TX, USA
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own, p207, where the band went to play a unofficial gig for Joe Ely (support) in his own town of Lubbock. Green says the band took a couple of days off after flying to LA. dates from [Joe Elys acordian player].
Oct 8? Laredo Texas
Oct 10 San Diego, California, USA
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p 208
Oct 11 Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles CA, USA
Oct 13 Kezar Pavilion, San Francisco CA, USA
Oct 15 Seattle
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p211
... ticket ... photo from gig

"I just stumbled on this site while doing a google ‘egoist’ search. Great site. I wish I could find my taped interview with Joe. That was a story in itself. I must’ve woke up Cosmo at every stop from Cleveland to Denver where he finally put me through to Joe to do a pre-concert interview. You should try and get that from the Oregon Daily Emerald…or I could look in my files. If I recall Joe was getting ready for the Denver show…he was testy and abrupt…and loosened up later. My interview style was not to go by set questions…but to have question points and just talk. I remember asking about recording at Olympic Studios, which was being talked about…and joked that this was supposed to be The Rolling Stones favorite room. No laughter from Joe on that. And it was pouring down rain, with thunder in Denver and it made Joe in bad mood. I casually told him to put that mood into the show. But this was cool. Wish I was a better writer back then.
The photos are by Mark Pynes, now the photo editor of the Harrisburg, Pa. newspaper. Wish I could find the interview tape…I think my ex-wife stole it. Cheers, Cort Fernald"

Oct 16 Pacific National Exhibition Vancover, Canada
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p213 as the last night of the tour.